戊戌年的书架: 2018, a (Chinese) Year in Books

Today is the lantern festival (yuanxiao jie 元宵节), the traditional end for the Chinese New Year season. It’s also time to post my second annual reading journal. This year’s list is even longer than the last. In part, that’s because I included academic titles this time around. My academic and creative lives have grown closer to one another over the last year, so it no longer made sense to separate them.

I still haven’t included Chinese books in this list, mostly because I didn’t read any complete Chinese books. My Chinese reading was in bits and pieces of old books–hard to remember and harder to record. Still, I hope that next year’s list will be more multilingual.

The bulk of the list is still short stories, and most of them came from the anthologies listed below. All of which are excellent:

  • 100 Years of the Best American Short Stories, ed. Lorrie Moore and Heidi Pitlor
  • The Big Book of Science Fiction, ed. Ann and Jeff Vandermeer
  • 100 Great Short Stories, ed. James Daley
  • Best American Short Stories of the Century, ed. John Updike
  • Dangerous Visions, ed. Harlan Ellison

I read more broadly this year, and I can’t say that I liked everything I read; however, I did like most of it. A few deserve special notice. In fiction, James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues,” John Updike’s “Pigeon Feathers,” ZZ Packer’s “Brownies,” Jhumpa Lahiri’s “The Third and Final Continent,” Connie Willis’s, “The Schwarzschild Radius,” Stanislaw Lem’s The Star Diaries, and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (I liked it in high school, but found so much more in it this time around). In scholarly work, all of Hayden White’s articles, Umberto Eco’s Six Walks in the Fictional Woods, Emerson’s “The Poet,” Eliot’s “Tradition and the Individual Talent,” and Dana Gioia’s “Poetry as Enchantment.” Among writing guides I would note that the Gotham Writer’s Workshop’s Writing Fiction can’t be beat for fiction writing, and William Zinsser’s On Writing Well is fabulous for non-fiction writing–even the academic sort. A final special mention for effective and truly funny satire goes to William Tenn’s “The Liberation of Earth.”

I keep this list for my own pleasure, but I post it each year because I believe in the value of reading. For many years, I only read material in my own field–an illness common among graduate students. Since I widened my horizons I’ve realized how much I was missing. Not only are there many ideas in other fields that can help my own academic research, but reading stories and poetry deepens our engagement with the world and ourselves. In a world dominated by social media, sitting down to read slowly, for pleasure, for information, for enlightenment, is a blessing I hope more of us enjoy.

Without any further noise from me, here’s the list:

  1. Chimamanda Adichie, Purple Hibiscus
  2. Chimamanda Adichie, “305 Marguerite Cartwright Avenue” (in The World Split Open)
  3. Aeschylus, Agamemnon (trans. Robert Fagles)
  4. Aeschylus, The Libation Bearers (trans. Robert Fagles)
  5. Aeschylus, Eumenides (trans. Robert Fagles)
  6. Giorgio Agamben, The Adventure
  7. Giorgio Agamben, “The Fire and the Tale”
  8. Giorgio Agamben, “Mysterium Burocraticum
  9. Giorgio Agamben, “What is the Act of Creation?”
  10. Sherman Alexie, “What you Pawn I will Redeem”
  11. Yoshio Aramaki, “Soft Clocks”
  12. Aristotle, Aristotle: Introductory Selections (trans. Terrence Irwin and Gail Fine)
  13. Sherwood Anderson, “Brothers”
  14. Isaac Asimov, “The Last Question”
  15. Margaret Atwood, “Spotty-Handed Villianesses” (in The World Split Open)
  16. James Baldwin, “Sonny’s Blues”
  17. J.G. Ballard, The Drowned World 
  18. J.G. Ballard, “The Voices of Time”
  19. Russel Banks, “No, But I Saw the Movie” (in The World Split Open)
  20. Donald Bathelme, “The School”
  21. Charles Baxter, “The Harmony of the World”
  22. Dmitri Bilenkin, “Where Two Paths Cross” (trans. James Womack)
  23. James Blish, “Surface Tension”
  24. Jorge Luis Borges, “A Biography of Tadeo Isidoro Cruz (1829-1874)”
  25. Jorge Luis Borges, This Craft of Verse
  26. Jorge Luis Borges, “The Dead Man”
  27. Jorge Luis Borges, “The Immortal”
  28. Jorge Luis Borges, “Story of the Warrior and the Captive Maiden”
  29. Jorge Luis Borges, “The Theologians”
  30. Reuben A. Brower, “Reading in Slow Motion” (in In Defense of Reading)
  31. Zong-Qi Cai, “Introduction: Major Aspects of Chinese Poetry” (in How to Read Chinese Poetry)
  32. Zong-qi Cai, “Pentasyllabic Shi Poetry: ‘The Nineteen Old Poems’” (in How to Read Chinese Poetry)
  33. Italo Calvino, “Why Read the Classics?”
  34. Raymond Carver, “Cathedral”
  35. Raymond Carver, “Will you Please be Quiet, Please”
  36. Willa Cather, “The Enchanted Bluff”
  37. John Cheever, “The Enormous Radio”
  38. G.K. Chesterton, “Introduction” to The Defendant
  39. Arthur C. Clarke, “The Star”
  40. Alicia Yánez Cossío, “The IWM 1000”
  41. Dante Alighieri, Inferno (trans. John D. Sinclair)
  42. Dante Alighieri, Purgatorio (trans. John D. Sinclair)
  43. Dante Alighieri, Paradiso (trans. John D. Sinclair)
  44. Samuel R. Delany, “Aye, and Gomorrah”
  45. Lester del Rey, “Evensong”
  46. Junot Díaz, “Fiesta, 1980”
  47. Philip K. Dick, The Man in the High Castle
  48. E.L. Doctorow, “Childhood of a Writer” (in The World Split Open)
  49. S.N. Dyer, “Passing as a Flower in the City of the Dead”
  50. Umberto Eco, Six Walks in the Fictional Woods
  51. T.S. Eliot, “Tradition and the Individual Talent”
  52. Stanley Elkin, “The Conventional Wisdom”
  53. Harlan Ellison, “‘Repent, Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockmam”
  54. Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The Poet”
  55. Euripides, Bacchae (trans. Paul Roche)
  56. William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying
  57. William Faulkner, “That will be Fine”
  58. F. Scott Fitzgerald, “Babylon Revisited”
  59. F. Scott Fitzgerald, “Bernice Bobs her Hair”
  60. F. Scott Fitzgerald, “The Diamond as Big as the Ritz”
  61. F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
  62. F. Scott Fitzgerald, “The Rich Boy”
  63. Richard Ford, “Communist”
  64. Robert Frost, Collected Poems of Robert Frost
  65. Robert Frost, “The Figure a Poem Makes”
  66. Northrop Frye, The Educated Imagination
  67. Mahatma Gandhi, Hind Swaraj 
  68. Gabriel García Marquez, “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” (trans. Gregory Rabassa)
  69. Gotham Writers’ Workshop, Writing Fiction
  70. Lauren Groff, “At the Round Earth’s Imagined Corners”
  71. Nancy Hale, “Those are as Brothers”
  72. Ernest Hemingway, In Our Time 
  73. Ernest Hemingway, To Have and Have Not
  74. Dana Gioia, “Poetry as Enchantment”
  75. Nathaniel Hawthorne, “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment”
  76. Nathaniel Hawthorne, “Young Goodman Brown”
  77. Hesiod, Theogony (trans. Stanley Lombardo)
  78. Hesiod, Works and Days (trans. Stanley Lombardo)
  79. Homer, The Odyssey (trans. Stanley Lombardo)
  80. The Homeric Hymns (trans. Thelma Sargent)
  81. Henry James, “The Author of Beltraffio”
  82. Henry James, “The Figure in the Carpet”
  83. Henry James, “The Middle Years”
  84. Henry James, “The Real Thing”
  85. Diana Wynne Jones, Howl’s Moving Castle
  86. Edward P. Jones, “Finding the Known World” (in The World Split Open)
  87. Edward P. Jones, “Old Boys, Old Girls”
  88. Langdon Jones, “The Hall of Machines”
  89. Jamaica Kincaid, “Xuela”
  90. Steven Knapp and Walter Benn Michaels, from “Against Theory” (in Pragmatism: A Reader)
  91. David R. Knechtges, “Fu Poetry: An Ancient-Style Rhapsody (Gufu)” (in How to Read Chinese Poetry)
  92. Seymour Krim, “Lace or Steel”
  93. Geoffrey A. Landis, “Vacuum States”
  94. R.A. Lafferty, “Nine Hundred Grandmothers”
  95. Jhumpa Lahiri, “The Third and Final Continent”
  96. Ursula Le Guin, “Another Story or a Fisherman of the Inland Sea”
  97. Ursula Le Guin, “Buffalo Girls, won’t you Come out Tonight”
  98. Ursula Le Guin, City of Illusion
  99. Ursula Le Guin, “Lost Paradises”
  100. Ursula Le Guin, “Pity and Shame” (In Tin House 19.4)
  101. Ursula Le Guin, Planet of Exile
  102. Ursula Le Guin, Rocannon’s World
  103. Ursula Le Guin, “Where Do You Get Your Ideas From?” (in The World Split Open)
  104. Ursula Le Guin and David Naimon, Ursula K. Le Guin: Conversations on Writing
  105. Stanislaw Lem, “Let us Save the Universe”
  106. Stanislaw Lem, The Star Diaries
  107. Liu Cixin 刘慈欣, “The Poetry Cloud”
  108. David Wong Louie, “Displacement”
  109. Michael Lowenthal, “Face the Music: My Improbable Trip to Saturn (or Close Enough) with Sun Ra” (in Ploughshares Solos Omnibus, vol. 5)
  110. Katherine MacLean, “The Snowball Effect”
  111. Geoffrey Maloney, “Remnants of the Virago Crypto-System”
  112. Emily St. John Mandel, Station Eleven
  113. Thomas Mann, “The Path to the Cemetery”
  114. Louis Menand, “Introduction to Pragmatism” (in Pragmatism: A Reader)
  115. William H. Nienhauser Jr., “Tetrasyllabic Shi Poetry: The Book of Poetry (Shijing)” (in How to Read Chinese Poetry)
  116. Joyce Carol Oates, “By the River”
  117. Tim O’Brien, “The Things they Carried”
  118. Silvina Ocampo, “The Waves”
  119. Flannery O’Connor, “Everything that Rises must Converge”
  120. Tillie Olsen, “I Stand here Ironing”
  121. Ovid, Metamorphoses I-V (trans. Stanley Lombardo)
  122. ZZ Packer, “Brownies”
  123. Grace Paley, “Friends”
  124. Benjamin Percy, “Refresh, Refresh”
  125. Plato, Apology (trans. Benjamin Jowett)
  126. Plato, Crito  (trans. G.M.A. Grube, John M. Cooper)
  127. Plato, Euthyphro (trans. G.M.A. Grube, John M. Cooper)
  128. Plato, Meno (trans. G.M.A. Grube, John M. Cooper)
  129. Plato, Phaedo (trans. G.M.A. Grube, John M. Cooper)
  130. Plato, Republic (trans. C.D.C. Reeve)
  131. Plato, Timaeus (trans. Donald J. Zeyl)
  132. Edgar Allan Poe, “The Cask of Amontillado”
  133. Edgar Allan Poe, “The Masque of the Red Death”
  134. Edgar Allan Poe, “The Tell-Tale Heart”
  135. Frederik Pohl, “The Day after the Day the Martians Came”
  136. Frederik Pohl, “Day Million”
  137. Frederik Pohl, Gateway
  138. Richard Poirier, “Reading Pragmatically” (in Pragmatism: A Reader)
  139. Katherine Anne Porter, “The Cracked Looking Glass”
  140. A Pre-Socratics Reader (trans. Richard McKirahan, ed. Patricia Curd)
  141. Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a young Poet
  142. Marilynne Robinson, “On Beauty” (in The World Split Open)
  143. Richard Rorty, “Nineteenth Century Realism and Twentieth Century Textualism”
  144. Phillip Roth, “The Conversion of the Jews”
  145. Joanna Russ, “When it Changed”
  146. Josephine Saxton, “The Snake who had Read Chomsky”
  147. William Shakespeare, Henry V
  148. William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar 
  149. Akhil Sharma, “If you Sing like that for Me”
  150. Vadim Shefner, “A Modest Genius” (trans. Matthew J. O’Connell)
  151. Mary Shelley, “The Mortal Immortal: A Tale”
  152. Kajio Shinji, “Reiko’s Universe Box” (trans. Toyoda Takashi and Gene van Troyer)
  153. Mona Simpson, “Lawns”
  154. Robert Silverberg, “Flies”
  155. Robert Silverberg, “Good News from the Vatican”
  156. William Sloane, To Walk the Night
  157. William Sloane, The Edge of Running Water
  158. Sophocles, Oedipus the King (trans. Robert Fagles)
  159. Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus (trans. Robert Fagles)
  160. Sophocles, Antigone (trans. Robert Fagles)
  161. Margaret St. Claire, “Prott”
  162. Wallace Stegner, “Fiction to Make Sense of Life” (in The World Split Open)
  163. Bruce Sterling, “Swarm”
  164. Robert Stone, “Helping”
  165. Robert Stone, “Morality and Truth in Literature” (in The World Split Open)
  166. Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, “The Visitors” (trans. James Womack)
  167. Theodore Sturgeon, “The Man who Lost the Sea”
  168. Jiu-Lung Su, “Shi Poetry: Music Bureau Poems (Yuefu)” (in How to Read Chinese Poetry)
  169. Leonard Susskind, The Theoretical Minimum
  170. William Tenn, “The Liberation of Earth”
  171. James Tiptree Jr., “And I Awoke and Found me here on the Cold Hill’s Side”
  172. Yasutaka Tsutsui, “Standing Woman” (trans. Dana Lewis)
  173. John Updike, “Pigeon Feathers”
  174. Miguel de Unamuno, “Mechanopolis” (trans. Marian Womack)
  175. Virgil, Aeneid
  176. Kurt Vonnegut Jr., “2 B R 0 2 B”
  177. F.L. Wallace, “Student Body”
  178. Eudora Welty, “The Whole World Knows”
  179. Hayden White, “The Burden of History”
  180. Hayden White, “The Value of Narrativity in the Representation of Reality”
  181. Hayden White, “The Historical Text as Literary Artifact”
  182. Connie Willis, “Schwarzschild Radius”
  183. Jeanette Winterson, “What is Art For?” (in The World Split Open)
  184. Virginia Woolf, “The Mark on the Wall”
  185. Fusheng Wu, “Sao Poetry: The Lyrics of Chu (Chuci)” (in How to Read Chinese Poetry)
  186. W.B. Yeats, Collected Poems
  187. W.B. Yeats, “A General Introduction for my Work”
  188. W.B. Yeats, “The Symbolism of Poetry”
  189. William Zinsser, On Writing Well
  190. Yefim Zozulya, “The Doom of Principal City” (trans. Vlad Zhenevsky)

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